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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33732
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My friend sold me her property and gave me the title - but

Customer Question

Hi, my friend sold me her property and gave me the title - but she didn't sign it. Now, she is trying to sell it somebody else ... In Texas, is that legal? Do I have any rights since I am in possession of the title and have been paying the property taxes?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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When you say she gave you the title, what exactly do you mean?.

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Did she give you an unsigned deed to the property?

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Were you buying this under an agreement where she would transfer the deed once you completed making all the payments?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
she gave me an unsigned deed to the property ... I was making payments on the property ( this was a deal between the 2 of us) and she was living with her son. They had a disagreement and she was kicked out of their place ... so she showed up at my house with nothing but what she could put in her car. My husband and I let her move in with us and she lived with us for 3 1/2 yrs. She did not work and did not pay ANY living expenses. We not only provided room and board, but she used our vehicles, we paid for her to have a cell phone, paid for food and medical expenses of her two dogs AND took her on several vacations. During the time that she was living with us, I paid the property taxes. I found out that she was 3yrs behind in taxes and I paid those. It was at that time that she gave me the title (or deed ) to the property - and said that it was mine. Last October, she got mad and moved out. Now, she has the property listed for sale and I don't know if I have any legal rights to it. Can you please help me?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, unfortunately from a purely legal perspective, if there was never a deed signed, then no legal change of ownership has occurred. A piece of real estate is conveyed and transfers ownership through a signed deed executed in front of a notary from the grantor to the grantee.

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So to be very honest, an unsigned deed has no legal validity at all.

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With this being the case here, if the friend made promises to repay you for any money you spent on her to pay taxes or for other things, and agreed to sell you the property if you took over payment, then your recourse would be to file suit against her for breach of contract if she is now refusing to honor the agreement or repay you and get a judgment against her. You could also file a "lis pendens" against the property, which is a formal notice of legal action. This would scare away any purchaser and allow you to file a lien on the property once you get a judgment against her.

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Then you could foreclose on your lien on the property and force a sale to pay any judgment that you get against her for money damages.

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thanks

Barrister

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